Teacher resources and professional development across the curriculum
Teacher professional development and classroom resources across the curriculum
What prompts some people to help others in a time of crisis, while other people turn away? This question is central to an understanding of The Children of Willesden Lane. Teachers can explore this question with their students by using the concept of a Universe of Obligation. Sociologist Helen Fein defines the Universe of Obligation as the individuals and groups “toward whom obligations are owed, to whom rules apply, and whose injuries call for amends.”1 Throughout their reading of the book, students who have thought about their own Universe of Obligation will more easily see a connection between their own lives and choices and the events in the story. Ideas for introducing the Universe of Obligation are on pages 14–15 of the curriculum guide.
In the video, we see Sheila Huntley preparing her sixth-grade social studies students to read The Children of Willesden Lane. Prior to this session Sheila has given students background on the Holocaust, the Jewish faith, and race, prejudice, and discrimination.
1. Helen Fein, Accounting for Genocide, Free Press, 1979, p. 4.